GUATEMALA: Guatemalan Women Sue Canadian Mining Company for Rape

Sunday, March 24, 2013
Central America
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

On Wednesday March 20, Rios Montt, the former president of Guatemala, went on trial for genocide and crimes against humanity in Guatemala City. It is the first time ever, anywhere in the world, that a country has prosecuted an ex-head of state for genocide.

The charges go back to Guatemala's civil war, a war that lasted 36 years and killed two hundred thousand people - most of them indigenous Maya.

At least one Canadian mining company did business throughout the tumult, and has been cited for its complicity in the violence.

The war ended in 1996 and more Canadian mining companies moved in to Guatemala. But old habits die hard. Murder and mayhem continued on the streets of the cities and in the areas around the mining sites.

Now, in a bid to create another legal first, Guatemalans are launching law suits in Canadian courts against one of those companies - Hud Bay Minerals. Earlier this month, a Toronto court began to hear the case of 11 Guatemalan women who allege that they were raped when they were cleared off the land.